Homeschooling in Texas

Homeschooling in Texas

Welcome to Homeschooling in Texas! If you’re already here, or plan to move here and homeschool, you couldn’t have chosen a better place to educate your children at home. The law is very friendly, and there are endless opportunities for support groups, field trips, and conventions in the Lone Star State.

Is it legal?

YES, it is!

To home school legally in Texas, you must follow three state law requirements:

  • The instruction must be bona fide (i.e., not a sham).
  • The curriculum must be in visual form (e.g., books, workbooks, video monitor).
  • The curriculum must include the five basic subjects of reading, spelling, grammar, mathematics, and good citizenship.

There are no testing requirements, no “certification” or qualification requirements, and no reporting requirements. If your children are currently in public school, you should submit a letter to the district stating that you plan to withdraw your children for homeschooling. No matter what you are told by the district, you do not have to submit a list of curriculum or prove your qualifications to them or anyone else. In 1994, homeschools in Texas were officially designated as private schools in the Leeper vs. Arlington I.S.D. case. For a detailed explanation on the Leeper decision that resulted in this freedom, read this article at Texas Home Educators.

Since the Texas state laws are so easy, you have the freedom to choose your curriculum, set your schedule, and determine the educational path your children will take.

Do I Need an Accredited Curriculum?

No. TheHomeschoolMom.com states it perfectly:

“No state requires that a homeschool program, curriculum, or diploma be accredited (in fact, curriculum can’t be accredited!). Most institutions of higher learning do not require this either, although there may be exceptions by individual institutions or programs; and of course schools may change their requirements at any time.

Many families come to homeschooling from the public school system. As a result, they are asking questions based on a public school frame of reference, such as “How do I find an accredited homeschool program?” A better question to ask is, “Do I need to use an accredited homeschool program?” The answer is generally no.

Accreditation is offered to institutions by accrediting agencies (different agencies accredit public schools, private schools, and university model schools at the primary/secondary level, and a whole different set accredits institutions of higher education).  These schools and universities can be accredited because they are institutions.

Curricula aren’t accredited (not ever!)  because they aren’t schools or colleges. Curricula are learning resources or lesson plans; curricula are not institutions—so, they can’t be accredited!”

Read her full post on accredited homeschool curriculum.

How does graduation work?

As a truly private entity, homeschools in Texas are not under any legal obligation for graduation. It’s up to the parent to determine a high school course of study. This can be done with a minimum amount of research into typical graduation requirements in your state, but it’s also a good idea to consider your child’s future plans. College, trade school, entering the work force, marriage and family…each of these choices will help you determine the type of education your child should need.

Keep records of their school work, extracurriculars, and volunteer work. These records will help you to form the high school transcript. If they have attended public high school before withdrawing to homeschool, be sure to get their most up-to-date transcript from the school.

As far as a graduation ceremony goes, the possibilities are endless! Graduation is something you can really personalize as a homeschooler, whether you have a simple party at home or church, or join with a group of area homeschoolers to host a formal ceremony and reception. You can create a diploma yourself, or order from homeschooldiploma.com.

Red River Christian Homeschoolers hosts a graduation ceremony each year. Watch our Facebook group for announcements to join. These events are run by the current year’s graduate families, so the contact person will be different from year to year.

For specifics on high school and graduation, read these posts from Nicki Truesdell:

What about the “good citizenship” requirement?

Good citizenship, in my opinion, is a lifelong lesson in being a good citizen. It’s not just something you can learn in a semester. It’s called a requirement, but there’s never been a case of legal enforcement. So don’t panic over a “good citizenship curriculum.” My suggestion? Over the course of your children’s education, include some of these ideas:

  • learn how government works (local, state, and federal) and encourage informed voting
  • talk about community and community helpers with young children
  • consider volunteer opportunities as a family
  • visit the fire station, police station, post office, etc. in your town
  • be a good neighbor
  • get to know your elected officials, and consider visiting them or campaigning for them
  • In high school, take government and economics courses

How do I get started?

If your children are 5 or under, you simply choose your time to begin. There is no need to report to anyone or get permission from anyone. The school district has no involvement in your homeschool. Read this post for more tips on getting started.

If your children are currently enrolled in a public school, you need to submit a letter of withdrawal. According to the Texas Education Association, “The decision rendered in the Texas Supreme Court opinion Leeper, et al. vs. Arlington ISD, et al. clearly establishes that students who are home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement to the same extent as students enrolled in private schools. Students should be dis-enrolled by school officials when they receive written notice either by signing withdrawal forms or a letter of withdrawal. It is not necessary for the parents to make a personal appearance with school officials, present curriculum for review, or comply with any other requirements in order to successfully withdraw their student. For purposes of Leaver Reason Code 60, a signed and dated letter from the parent or guardian stating that the student is being homeschooled and the date homeschooling began is sufficient documentation.

You may email or print and mail your withdrawal letter. Feel free to use the sample below. If you have children in high school, request their current transcript.


Dear [Administrator],

Please un-enroll my child [NAME] from [SCHOOL NAME] [GRADE] effective today [DATE]. My child/ren will be homeschooled going forward. We understand that, according to Texas Education Code (Sec. 25.086.) homeschools are considered private schools, exempt from all oversight by the State of Texas or [SCHOOL NAME ISD].

According to the Texas Education Association, “The decision rendered in the Texas Supreme Court opinion Leeper, et al. vs. Arlington ISD, et al. clearly establishes that students who are home schooled are exempt from the compulsory attendance requirement to the same extent as students enrolled in private schools. Students should be dis-enrolled by school officials when they receive written notice either by signing withdrawal forms or a letter of withdrawal. It is not necessary for the parents to make a personal appearance with school officials, present curriculum for review, or comply with any other requirements in order to successfully withdraw their student. For purposes of Leaver Reason Code 60, a signed and dated letter from the parent or guardian stating that the student is being homeschooled and the date homeschooling began is sufficient documentation.

Thank you,

[sign]


Check out Texas Home Educators for state support. Join one of the classes or co-ops on this site for in-person support and socialization.